For the long Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving, eight of us flew off to Budapest, Hungary. The city, split by the waters of the Danube, was beautiful and perfect for walking around. Our hostel was right by the Opera House, five minutes from St. Stephan’s Basilica, and about ten minutes from the river. On Saturday morning, Cate, Krista, and I walked down to the river and along it until we reached the Central Market. This market has two floors - food on the bottom floor and hand-made goods and tourist trinkets on the second floor. Some of the things they had for sale were amazing - tablecloths, painted eggs, crystal, and so much more. We could have spent the entire day walking around and looking at stuff for sale, but instead the three of us went off to see more of the city. We meandered our way up to a World War II monument and museum that looked over the whole of the city and offered a wonderful view. We then worked our way back down hill and found our way to the castle. Buda Castle now houses a museum and the National Gallery, and was also playing host to a Sausage Festival
for the weekend. At the Sausage Festival, we ate some marvelous food - sausage of course, though we were not really sure what kind or what our side dished were. We decided it was too nice a day to spend in a museum or art gallery, so we moved on, working our way to St. Matthias Church - an extremely old and beautifully painted church. I don’t think there was one inch of space that had been left unpainted. After looking over the church, we wended our way back down to the river and to Margaret Island. The island includes many walking trails and tree-covered park spaces, a swimming pool, a full size track, and sidewalks covered in all-weather track material for long distance jogging. Finally, we made our way back to our hostel where we had time to relax and recover before going to the Opera that evening.
At the Opera, we saw The Marriage of Figaro. The Opera House itself was amazing and beautiful, though not nearly as lavish or large as the Opera in Paris. We had great seats, Cate Krista, and I in one of the boxes, and Mary, Jane, and Deb down on the main
At the Opera
Deb, me, and Jane
floor. Not knowing the storyline of Figaro before seeing it, was probably a bit of a mistake, but I was able to follow along reasonably well. They performed in Italian and the words were translated to Hungarian on a small screen - neither of which helped me. But the performers were wonderful and, though long, I enjoyed the Opera very much.
Sunday morning found us at the thermal baths at the Gellert hotel. The baths were wonderfully relaxing, and the bath area included saunas and steam rooms; outside was a full size pool, though I didn’t go in it because it was a bit cold for that. After the baths, feeling less stiff and quite relaxed, I made my way back up to the castle to check out the museum. The museum, of course, had tons of things to look at, but I was most interested in what was left of the medieval castle. Most of the medieval castle had been destroyed, but parts of the wall, a chunk of flooring, and a few other portions remained. My need for food drove me from the museum and back into the city to find a very late lunch of golash. This
golash was not like the stuff that we have at home, but a traditional Hungarian dish - no tomatoes to be seen. I had one that consisted of pork and homemade noodles - delicious! I then wandered back to the hostel to rest before we went to a concert at St. Stephan’s. At the concert, the organ overpowered everything, so the best part was getting to look at the architecture and artwork in the light. After the concert, I made my way back down to the river to take some night shots.
Monday morning, Deb and I were up early to do a bit more wandering and get some last minute purchases before we took off for the airport. I look forward to visiting Budapest again!
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